If you're headed to Zion National Park in the next few days, you may notice a bit of smoke in the canyon at night, and a section of the West Rim Trail has been closed temporarily. Both are the result of a small wildfire in the northern portion of the park.
According to information from the park the blaze, dubbed the Horse Fire, is located approximately 1 ½ miles southeast of Lava Point, along the West Rim Trail. It was detected on Tuesday afternoon, July 7, and is a holdover from a lightning storm that passed through the area on July 4. It is estimated at approximately 20 acres with moderate fire activity.
Due to the fire’s location, the West Rim Trail from Lava Point to Potato Hollow has been temporarily closed for visitor safety. It will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so. The West Rim Trail from the Grotto to Potato Hollow remains open, as does the Angels Landing Trail and the Wildcat Canyon Trail. Backcountry travelers should call the park’s Backcountry Desk at 435-772-0170 for updated information on trail conditions.
The fire is currently being managed using a confine/containment strategy. Objectives for the fire are to hold it to the east side of the West Rim Trail and allow the fire to burn into an area that was burned last fall in the Three Finger Mesa Prescribed Fire. This strategy will allow the fire to achieve resource benefits through the reintroduction of fire to its natural role on the plateau while also reducing the risks to adjacent private lands and structures from future wildfires in the area.
Smoke may be visible to visitors and residents of the Kolob area for days to come as firefighters manage the Horse Fire. Some smoke may settle into the canyons at night, especially Zion Canyon, but should not present a major concern.